The cafe is not just a place for popping in for a coffee and a slice of cake anymore! The cafe has turned into something much bigger, a flexible environment with just the right amount of privacy creating a balance that appeals to all your customers. A café runs on customer satisfaction and how your customer feels in your space is going to make or break you.

Your cafe design must now go hand in hand with the new breed of customer, from the freelancer to the flexible worker to the friends who are catching up, to the person simply looking for some time out and a place where they can have some ‘alone time’ and maybe get stuck into their latest novel.

Weve got some cafe design tips for you to ensure your customers are happy, your interiors (and lattes) are Instagram-able and your layout will keep your staff happy and not tripping over each other.

It is important to have a clear vision of what your space is trying to offer before you begin the design process. Our professional team can help you with interior design decisions by looking at the colours you choose, furniture layout/design, your lighting and music choices, these are all hugely important factors to create the ambience and personality you want to create for your cafe – it will also dictate how long people will want to stay in your space – calm, clean, tasteful, a great menu (accommodating all diets), delicious smells, the friendliness of your staff and with no over-bearing sounds will mean customers will stay longer, buy more and keep coming back.

As part of your business planning you would already have considered how you want customers to behave when they visit your cafe – will they be having a quick meal or take away where they will be in and out quickly or are you looking for them to spend time in your cafe letting them take a seat and order as and when they are ready? The interior design choices you make will have an impact on how your customers use your cafe and how quickly your table turnover happens, so, knowing how you want your customer to operate with your cafe is a decision you really need to make very early on. 

Consider price points, what types(s) of coffee you will serve, where will your cafe be located, will you be near a university campus or will you be targeting a higher-end audience with a cafe on an upper-class street near expensive boutique stores? Based on these decisions it is important to really consider the vibe you wish to create and what will be expected of you from your customers.      

Did you know using colours like reds and yellows can trigger customers to move through your cafe quickly? Alongside uncomfortable, minimal, seating you are quite clearly giving your customer the message that you do not want them to hang about! This is not a bad thing, its the nature of your business but understanding customer psychology and adapting your cafe design appropriately can still make your customer comfortable – even though they are on a quick turnaround! Using calmer colours like pastels with relaxing music, wooden furniture (preferably sustainably sourced) and sofas and/or comfy/cosy seating areas, your customers will be staying in your cafe for longer periods of time and appeal more to your target audience – it is also a really nice idea to consider bringing the ‘outside in’, some our more recent designs have included feature logo panels using freeze-dried moss panels – moss walls create a perfect alternative to live plants or real green walls!

The ambience you create from your cafe will affect each of your customers’ psychology differently – the lights you use, the plates and mugs you choose, the acoustics and the scent of your cafe all lead to creating the right balance to achieve the desired result you are looking for. Choosing the right lighting is essential, avoid bright, unnatural lights these can over-power your customers distracting them from the food and drinks you have served them and generally making them feel uneasy – have you ever sat in a cafe with a spotlight in your face? Well, we have and its not ideal! You need to get the balance of your lighting just right – enough for everyone to see comfortably and not too dim that they are sat in darkness! If your space has big windows use the natural light to create some inviting seating areas with less need for artificial lighting. 

Dont forget, sometimes too big a space can have a detrimental effect on the overall vibe you are trying to create for your target market.

Weve done lighting now let’s head back to sound! Acoustics in your cafe is another essential element of your cafe interior, too loud and it can be distracting to anyone trying to concentrate or chat with a friend or acquaintance over coffee – getting just the right level of acoustics will keep your customers happy! In keeping with customer satisfaction scent psychology is a huge part of the ambience you create – some eateries have developed a particular fragrance to trigger hunger but coffee shops mainly create strong coffee scents, mainly to entice customers to buy more! 

Finally, your cafe design should consider spacing, privacy and crowding issues, a good design will ensure there is suitable space between each table, it will consider where queuing takes place and how this affects customers already seated and where a pick-up queue is located. An overcrowded cafe will not encourage customers to return and in light of the recent pandemic, spacing (even without social distancing rules in place) is something people will be much more aware of in the future.

We work with many customers to create the perfect cafe design that ensures their customers come back time and time again – if you have a project in mind and would like to discuss this in more detail please contact us.